Four-Layer Chili Cheese Dip


Happy Monday!  The frigid weather has continued this past weekend with yet another snowstorm on Saturday and some flurries on Sunday.  I was mostly a homebody, minus a few trips to the grocery stores and a pre-Chinese New Year dinner I had with my family.  The sniffles and coughs still haven’t gone away, but I managed to work up some strength between naps to do some cooking.  I tried three new recipes this weekend: gnocchi from scratch, sweet corn tomalito, and strawberry buttermilk shortcake.  I’m still thinking about ways to retest and improve upon them, so I didn’t photograph the dishes for the blog.

I have a recipe for you today, though.  Well, actually, not quite.  This post is really about assembling several storebought ingredients together, so it doesn’t qualify as hardcore cooking.  This layered cheese dip was introduced to me by my coworker, who made it for our office’s holiday party last month.  She served them with little tortilla cups, and I kept going back for more, greedily scooping more dip into the cups each time.


Normally, I’m an advocate of making things from scratch, but this Four-Layer Chili Cheese Dip is all about speed, accessibility, and delicious flavors.  A dip that you want to run to the kitchen and make it during commercial breaks.  A dip that I like to call the “pharmacy dip” because I bought all of the ingredients from the pharmacy around the corner from my apartment.  A dip that satisfies your cravings for something savory, cheesy, creamy, and crunchy.

Start by layering softened cream cheese on the bottom of a casserole or pie dish (I used a cast iron skillet because I don’t have a pie dish).  You see the blue spatula I’m using here?  It’s the OXO Good Grips I was talking about – you can win one here!


Next, pour in a can of beef chili over the cream cheese layer.  You can also use beans-only (vegetarian) chili, or ones that are low-sodium, spicy, mild, or basically, whatever you prefer.  If you have some leftover chili, that’s even better.


The next two layers are salsa and shredded cheese.  For the salsa, a chunkier variety works best.  You’d also want to use a small sieve and strain out some of the liquid in the salsa so that the liquid doesn’t pool on the bottom as the dip gets heated through.  By the way, I used the wrong cheese here.  I confirmed with my coworker after this and she said that she used a Mexican three-cheese blend to give the dip its Tex-Mex flair. Mexican cheese blend it is!


Put it in the oven to let the cheese melt, and you’re done!  Dig in and enjoy!


Four-Layer Chili Cheese Dip
Serves: 8
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 15 oz can chili (with or without beans)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spread cream cheese on the bottom of a casserole dish (or 9-inch pie dish).
  3. Spread chili over the cream cheese.
  4. Spread salsa over the chili and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
  5. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and allow the dip to cool for a few minutes before serving with tortilla chips.